A senior executive at ABC News Live, an OTT platform, says: "I don’t frankly care if anyone over 40 watches.” Turning away viewers? There’s your true media disruption.
There is lot we can take away from this. One is that traditional TV networks, legacy TV platforms, typically only target viewers 25-54, and many viewers over 60 are ignored. Two, legacy TV media companies are tiptoeing in the arena that narrower-targeted digital video platforms do well in. Many are trying copy that -- to some extent.
News programming has long been the genre of older TV viewers. Many have tried to enter this area in traditional platforms -- the Viceland cable TV network, for one. Results? The jury is still out.
It may be more perplexing when looking at other TV programming genres -- including prime-time stuff on CBS. While it may have an average viewer median age of 60 on its linear TV network, airing the same exact shows on OTT platforms -- like CBS All Access -- can yield median average audiences in the mid-40s. Nice.
To be sure, CBS isn’t alone.
Older-skewing prime-time shows on NBC, ABC and Fox are also drawing young TV viewers online -- as well as established cable TV networks such as Turner, USA Network, A+E Network, and yes, even Hallmark Channel.
How many exactly? No networks are divulging this right now. There isn’t much scale to talk about.
Media consumer technology is an easy, accessible thing for young consumers. And they might try anything. ABC News Live, on its owned-and-operated TV website and Roku’s AVOD platform, pulls in 5 million monthly active viewers. Add in even more when it comes to Hulu and/or Facebook Watch.
And in reference to the above, most are younger viewers. This is probably the same for CBSN, CBS’ OTT news app, and digital efforts for Fox, NBC and others.
What does this say? Is there not enough seemingly younger-targeted premium TV series for those 18-34 viewers or 18-49 viewers to watch? No, there is plenty. There is also fractionalized premium TV content everywhere.
Clearly, discovery and search efforts around digital content are still evolving.